Colin Newman (Wire) :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

2018 looks to be a banner year for fans of the defiantly minimal Wire. Following 2017's Silver/Lead, a record that marked the band's 40th anniversary in the most inspiring way possible -- by demonstrating its continued vitality -- Pink Flag Records has readied a wealth of archival releases for this year. First up, the Nine Sevens box set, collecting nine 7" singles recorded between 1977-1980, which hits record stores on April 21, Record Store Day.  And then, May 18th will see the release of expanded, deluxe editions of the quartet's first three albums, Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978), and 154 (1979). Documenting the group's initial creative burst, the reissues are designed as definitive editions.

"If you're going for completeness, you've got to be complete," says Wire leader Colin Newman via Skype.

Presented with remastered audio, demos, B-sides, alternate takes, unreleased material, an 80-page book, and a wealth of photos by photographer Annette Green, who shot the legendary Pink Flag  and Chairs Missing album covers as well,  the expanded editions are the result of Newman and his small team of collaborators raiding the EMI archives, creating combination reissue/contextual art project. While the core albums  will continue to be available via streaming outlets, the significant trove of bonus material will remain exclusive to these physical box sets.

Aquarium Drunkard caught up with Newman to explore the band's enduring legacy while he and the group prep for a trip to Marfa, Texas, to play the Marfa Myths  April 12-15 festival alongside Amen Dunes, Suzanne Ciani, Terry Allen, and many more. Sustaining his foundational artistic stance for more than four decades, Newman remains a sharp, funny presence.

Aquarium Drunkard:  You've never been a backward-looking band. Wire has always charged forward. What has the process of re-evaluating your work like this felt like?

Colin Newman: It does your head in. [Laughs] Not to put too fine a point on it. It's a very strange, slightly surreal experience. I think we've always very much lived in the present. It's about what's going on right now with the band and always has been. In that respect, it isn't any different than how it was in 1977. But on the other side, it was a different combination of people [founding guitarist Bruce Gilbert departed in 2006] and that's something I'm very aware of when dealing with material from that time. You know, like any group of people, each person has their own thing to bring to the mix.

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